For the last forty years tuition fees for both public and private institutions have been rising.

In 1997, the average cost for a year of tuition at a public college was $2,390 – that number has tripled since then.

Private institutions have not fared better, with the annual fee hitting an all time high of $34,740. These rising costs have led to students and their parents digging deep into savings. More often than not, loans and credit cards are used to fund tuition fees and living expenses, saddling students with large amounts of debt before they’ve even been handed their diplomas.

Despite knowing that every dollar spent will have to be paid back in the future, this hasn’t stopped students from spending billions every year across a wide range of sectors. For many college students this will be the first time that they can exercise their consumer rights with absolute autonomy, a factor that all brands can take advantage of with the use of campus-based marketing activities and promotions.

Food is often the first thing on the minds of students when it comes to budgeting – it’s estimated that $21 billion is spent on snacks and food items in the course of the year, with a large percentage of this attributed to food served in cafeterias (which has been rising in price exponentially, along with tuition fees). The average college charges up to $4,300 for a 19 meal-per-week contract – costing the student around $7.50 per meal. Food brands have the opportunity to cut in on this action and offer an alternative option for students who are looking to make the most out of their limited funds.

Whilst college students are often associated with outrageous parties and long drinking sessions, this is a time in these young adults’ lives that they will be thinking about engaging in more mature, ‘grown-up’ activities – such as going out to eat.

In fact, 82% of students have budgeted for going out to restaurants with their friends, compared to just 16% who are saving money to travel. On-campus marketing, in the form of voucher distribution or student-exclusive promotions, can attract this influential demographic into your fast-food franchise or restaurant.

Whilst students might well be budgeting for a socially active lifestyle, they’ll always have money saved back for electronic devices; a massive $21 billion is spent on electronics each year by the growing student population. Brands should remember that these are the spenders of tomorrow, the students that are won over by your marketing during their four-year course are far more likely to buy from you when they’re gainfully employed.

Devices, such as laptops and phones, tend to sell most during the back-to-college shopping season, but the right on-campus marketing campaign, combined with an attractive discount on new models, could persuade them to flash their plastic whilst they’re still studying.

Despite rising tuition fees, the cliché of the broke college student is a far cry from the reality. They have plenty of money to spend—all you need is the right campus-based marketing campaign to get their attention.

You can reach this valuable demographic by taking advantage of our wide connections from within the college Fraternity or Sorority networks. Alternatively, you can offer these consumers a unique experience or valuable promotion by hiring our brand ambassadors to talk to them directly on campus.

Contact us today, to get the ball rolling on your next college marketing campaign.

Bryan Carbone has over 20 years experience in college media, advertising and Out-of-Home media. Having established one of the country’s most innovative college marketing agencies in the U.S., working with more than 4,000 universities, Bryan has developed college targeted campaigns for Fortune 500 companies such as Clinique, P&G, Bare Minerals, Luxottica, as well as The USMC and Peace Corps and many more.